Firstly, I have to hold up my hands and admit that one of my pet hates on the road is drivers who travel the highways and byways of this county with defective headlights on a consistent basis. And that includes rear-lights which are faulty too.
It has reached endemic proportions currently and we have some shocking offenders in this neck of the woods.
I challenge you to drive two or three miles on the N17, the N59, or the Curragh Line any night this weekend, and not meet a plonker or two coming against you missing a dim bulb.
You have to wonder do some of these clowns even realise that they are driving around with seriously faulty lights?
The reality that they may not even notice that they are missing a dipped headlight as they happily zip around the place is a scary prospect. If they don’t even notice that, as they commute, should they be behind a wheel in the first place?
Missing dim lights on oncoming vehicles is the main culprit and these one-eyed cars that come towards you, particularly when it is the outside light that is missing, are outrageously dangerous.
The possibility of colliding head-on with one of these selfish chumps is a very real one.
And this is not just an issue confined just to Galway and Mayo drivers.
Last Saturday evening I drove from my brother’s house, in Harold’s Cross in Dublin to Moycullen.
Between his house and Athlone I had observed well over one-hundred vehicles with defective lights, both front and rear, mainly on the motorway.
I stopped counting at that stage as it was only annoying me.
The fact that it is a road traffic offence and is meant to signal a fine if you are pulled over does not seem to a deterrent in any way for the hordes of people who seem to think it is perfectly acceptable to drive around with only one headlight working properly. And they do so in a consistent and persistent basis with no regard for other drivers, or pedestrian’s safety.
The new solution seems to be to switch on their fog lights instead. So to fix one problem, they create another one.
Of course when there is practically zero enforcement, these individuals have no interest in compliance. There is no point laying the blame on a hugely under-resourced Traffic Corps as due to austerity measures their manpower, overtime and cars have been slashed.
The fact is that people have to take personal responsibility for the state and condition of the vehicle they drive.
Should a driver be pulled over by the Traffic Corps for faulty lights and fined, especially if they don’t even have a parking bulb working, it is impossible to have sympathy for them.
It only costs €10 to get a bulb replaced and many garages only charge for the cost of the bulb and will fit the new one for free. The likes of Car Parts Warehouse in the Liosbaun Industrial estate are extremely decent and efficient in that regard.
When you see these one eyed monsters coming, even with the parking light working, and some of them can be commercial buses, trucks and even state owned vehicles, -we have all seen the odd Garda car with only one bulb - it has always struck me, how would they continue the rest of their journey if the good bulb blew too?
Can you imagine the guilt if you hit or killed a pedestrian or were involved in a serious crash having knowingly driven around for a few weeks with defective lights.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA ) has pointed out that road traffic deaths and injuries were up in 2014 on 2013 and pedestrians deaths in particular are on the increase.
The Galway traffic corps had Operation Solas recently and they pulled over a few drivers and issued some cautions.
Why wait for that to happen?
Check your front and rear-lights, and your break lights, over the next day or two.
And if they are not working, call into your local garage or motor factor and get them fixed.
It will be money well spent.
Taking that small decision could save someone’s life.
Maybe even your own.